Third time lucky? Here's how life turned out for third-born royal ancestors

Being born third child to a monarch or future monarch has rarely meant a trouble-free life.

Kensington Palace, announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed a baby boy at 11:01 on the morning of April 23.

While speculations are rife as to what the name of the third child may be, one cannot help but look back at all the other third-borns in the royal family, none of whom, unfortunately, had a very happy life.

It turns out that being born third child to a monarch or future monarch has rarely meant a trouble-free life. Here are instances:

Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood: Third child to George V, she was born in 1897, before the law of primogeniture was changed, so there was never a chance she would ascend the throne. Her two older brothers were Edward VIII and George VI.

As the only girl among five higher-profile brothers, even though two of them were younger than her, Mary was consigned to the role of royal adornment.

While her brothers wanted to marry swiftly to escape their bullying father, Princess Mary clung to spinsterhood. This was partly because her mother wanted her at home, and partly because it was difficult to find the right kind of man to marry a king’s daughter.

However, at the age of 24 she married the 6th Earl of Harewood, aged 39, who was said to have proposed marriage to her only for a bet. She died of a heart attack while out walking in 1965, aged 67.

Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife: Born in 1867, Princess Louise, third child of Edward VII, was granted the title of Princess Royal. She, too, grew up at Sandringham — in the main house, not the cottage — and when the time came for husband-hunting she chose an obscure Scottish aristocrat, the Earl of Fife.

Fife was 40 to her 22 when they married, and Queen Victoria balked at the idea of someone of so lowly a rank being married to her grand-daughter — so she promptly made him a duke.

However, Luise did not lead a happy life. Her first child was stillborn and at the age of 34, she was shipwrecked off the coast of Morocco while sailing with her family to Egypt. Though all aboard were rescued, her husband died soon afterwards from pleurisy. She returned home to find that her daughter Alexandra wanted to marry her mother’s first cousin, Prince Arthur of Connaught. After being a widow for more than half her life, she died aged 63 after suffering a gastric haemorrhage.

Alice, Princess of the United Kingdom, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine: Princess Alice, the third child of Queen Victoria, born in 1843, at the age of 17 had to nurse her dying father, Prince Albert, then spent the next year consoling her grief-stricken mother.

While she did escape to marry a German princeling, Louis of Hesse, but two of her daughters met awful deaths. Both Alexandra, who had married Tsar Nicholas II and became an empress, and Elisabeth, who had married Grand Duke Sergei of Russia, were murdered in 1918 by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution of the previous year.

Alice herself died soon afterwards, never having forgiven her nephew, George V, for failing to rescue her children in Russia.

Sophia, Baroness De L’Isle and Dudley: Sophia, daughter of William IV born in 1795, never carried the title of Princess because she was illegitimate. The king lived for many years with the Anglo-Irish actress Jordan, who bore him ten children after having already given birth to four others by other men. Eventually abandoned by the king when he wanted a legitimate heir, Jordan died in poverty when her daughter was 19. Sophia died in childbirth at the age of just 36.

William IV: William IV himself was a third child (of the ‘mad’ George III). Born in 1765, he was arguably the biggest buffoon to sit on the throne. He was nicknamed ‘Sailor Bill’, having served in the Royal Navy and later been given the job of Lord High Admiral by George Canning, the prime minister, in 1827. He ascended the throne three years later, as his two deceased brothers failed to leave a legitimate heir. Crowned at the age of 64, he remains the oldest person to inherit the throne.

Even though he later married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen in the hope of producing a legitimate heir, their only offspring were two daughters.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York: Prince Andrew’s birth in 1960 came as something of a surprise, considering Anne had arrived ten years earlier and many believed the Queen had decided to have no more children.

However, from second in line to the throne, he has gradually drifted out in the royal pecking order to the position he holds today: seventh in line to the throne.

After tasting glory as a helicopter co-pilot in the Falklands conflict, his life has been dogged by divorce, a scandal over his close friendship with the US billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and the overuse of perks that led him to be nicknamed ‘Air Miles Andy’.

Diana, Princess of Wales: There is one more third baby to mention: Princess Diana. Yes, the new baby’s own grandmum. Although she was born the daughter of an earl, Diana was wife to and mother of future kings, and left the greatest legacy of them all. But behind the magic lay tragedy — a child of a broken home, disappointed in love, and an unhappy death.

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